“You’ll never find a rainbow if you’re looking down.” ― Charles Chaplin

It had been several weeks of rain and shine in Makurdi, Benue State, where I served Nigeria as a National Youth Service Corps member.

When the first rains poured down a few months earlier, everyone felt relief – a reassurance that the hell-of-a-weather that reigned supreme from last October till February was finally giving way for the cooler days of the year. Still, while one day sent down the legendary cats and dogs; the other was a scorcher!

Sometimes, the Sun and the rain took turns like health workers on shift; at other times, they share same office space. Monday 9 July 2012 was such a day.

It was about 6pm when I looked out of the auditorium and beheld a rainbow. “Wow! I must see this!” The photographer in me leapt for joy. I fetched my point-and-shoot camera from my ever-present bag. Bible study was almost over. Some minutes later, which seemed like a flash in time, I had excused myself and was hunting for the best location from where I could view the full arc whilst still keeping some natural elements in the viewfinder.

It had been several years since I last saw a rainbow. The sun was cycling fast and back to the West. Yes, you can laugh at me now! Besides, this time around there were two of them – the rainbows. They were wrapped in concurrent arcs; one inscribed in the other.

When sunshine and raindrops meet under the right conditions, they produce a beautiful image, a sensation pleasurable to the eye. They form an arc – a spectrum which is generally believed to comprise seven colours. There is no record or reference of those colours in the Bible, not even their number. Nevertheless, the rainbow looks awesome and says a lot to you when you listen.

When I see that arc, I see many things: how two separate phenomena, which can independently cause havoc and discomfort, cooperate to produce a beautiful product; how one can choose to focus on the simple, positive things in life even when saddled with an inexplicable mix of victories and defeats, joy and sorrow… It tells me that in this world we can live in peace and collaborate to solve most of our numerous socio-economic problems despite our divergent views; that if only you look closer, there is more to discover in life and all you do. The different shades of each colour in the spectrum scream POSSIBILITY!

The rainbow also tells me that there is beauty in our diversity; that we are varied, yet one. To some people, it signifies hope and a new beginning; to others, it lends credence to the numerous choices and options that life presents to us daily. The ‘bow’ brings the thought of ‘arrows’; battles fought in life…

The rainbow tells me there is God, and that he rules in the affairs of men.

Always remember this: besides the sun and the rain, it takes YOU to view and experience the beauty of a rainbow. Today, choose to be confident and courageous; relish the beautiful things in life. Refuse to allow fear interrupt your progress as you pursue your goals and lead a life of purpose.

When was the last time you saw a rainbow? When you see the rainbow, what do you feel – joy, sorrow, or mixed emotions; to you, what does the rainbow signify?